Workflow Rules

Where Used: Utilities > Controls > Workflow Rules.

Workflow Rules Overview

A Workflow Rule must be established before entering any transactions. The rule is written into the transaction itself upon entry and will remain even if the workflow rule applying to the transaction is deleted. If a workflow rule is altered and there are existing transactions that require the new workflow rule to be applied to them, they will have to be deleted and re-entered under the new Workflow rule.

The Workflow Rules function enables the setting of workflow rules that will require the approval of a user or group of users, level or creator. SapphireOne has the ability to create workflow rules on any data entry type of transaction within SapphireOne. The data entry can then have any or multiples of the combination of the 12 workflow rules applied to it. For example, these include New Transaction, Modify Transaction, Deleted Transaction, Transaction Above a Particular Dollar ($) Value, Transaction Sales Under Average Cost, Transaction for Client Over Credit Limit, Transaction for Client on Credit Stop, Transaction Sales with Negative Stock, Leave Request, Tracking Notes, Bank Details and Sales under floor price.

Each workflow rule can have a unique Title and Tag established by the user. Once the transaction type, as well as the rule trigger, has been established, the user has the ability to add unique notes to each workflow rule. The SapphireOne user then proceeds to the flow, which contains stages where the they have the ability to create unlimited stages. The workflow rule can have one stage or multiple stages, often they tend to be sequential. The user can set the amount of stages they require and within each stage they have the ability to set the number of people required to Approve or Notify a workflow rule before authorisation is granted.

As an example, if you set five stages it will not progress to stage two until stage one has been approved. Within Stage 1 you may have 5 users authorised to approve Stage 1 but it will require a minimum of 3 out of the 5 users to Approve or Notify stage one before it can advance to Stage 2. This is referred to as levels within the stage. You may assign a group of people to a level and assigning a Type can be done either by User, Level or Creator. For each Type, the user also has three checkboxes which are Authorisation Required, Hierarchical Authorisation and Email notification.

Another example, if you’ve established a workflow rule around Leave Requests, Stage One may be an employee entering a Leave Request. Stage One simply moves straight to Stage Two because that’s been established. Stage Two may then be that the manager is notified. Stage Three may then include the HR department approving the leave and Stage Four may be the original creator i.e. the employee has an email notification that there leave has been approved or not approved.

Initially these new transactions will have an error of WF for Workflow and cannot be printed, converted, emailed or posted until they are approved or authorised by the user or a group of users, level and/or creator. If they are rejected, the transactions will then remain in the list with a stratus of error indicating the continuing WF error.  They may then be left as they are and since they remain un-posted deleted as or if required. 

For each rule with a Workflow entry there must be a user or group of users setup with a restriction where they will create all or some transactions with an error code of WF. There must also be a user or group of users set up to approve the transactions. The switch is the setting of the checkbox either selected to enforce authorisation required or un-selected to approve transactions. 

Workflow Rules Details Page

Entering a New Workflow Rule

The Change button seen in the screenshot below is directly linked to the Organisation Chart function on the Controls drop-down menu. The Organisation Chart function is simply a means to place a number of users in a hierarchical group. It is documented in a separate article on Organisation Chart.

Details Area

The available options are as follows.

  • Sequence – SapphireOne will enter a sequentially generated number and it may not be altered.
  • Title – Enter in a Name or Title for this workflow entry.
  • Tag – Enter in a Tag if required. Remember that this list of tags may be setup by the user as required.
  • Company – SaphireOne should enter the company but if it does not, enter the company.
  • Department – Enter a department if required. 
  • Transaction – Select from the from the extensive list of transactions when the blue arrow is selected. For every type of transaction the user may then setup individual rules as required.
  • Rules Trigger – Then select from the Rules Trigger list box, a rule that is to be applied. Once the selected rule is broken the workflow function will become active and activate the Workflow function.
    • Transactions – The first three rules will raise a WF error. If the user tries to Create a New Transaction, or Modify or delete a transaction.
    • Above $ – This option will raise a WF error when any transaction is over a specified dollar amount.
    • Average Cost – Any transactions under average cost will raise a WF error.
    • Credit Limit and Stop – These two options will raise a WF error when the conditions are met.
    • Negative stock – Any transaction that will take inventory into a negative stock level will also raise the WF error if this option is selected.
    • Leave Request –  If any user makes a leave request a WF will be displayed enabling the HR officer to be alerted.
    • Tracking Notes – This will generate a WF. This is used to to alert the user responsible for managing tracking notes.
    • Bank Details – This linked to SapphireOne’s G/L accounts that are bank accounts.
    • Floor Price – When this option is selected A WF error will be sent to the selected user allowing them to approve or disapprove the sale.
  • Stages – Next set the number of hierarchical stages that must be navigated before the WF error is removed. Each stage will occupy a column in each row in the flow list towards. If required up to 6 stages or levels of authorisation is provided for, although 6 levels would be challenging to manage. To simplify it, the entry of the number 3 here will setup up three columns in the flow area below with default headings and that is all.
  • Single Stage – If only a single level of approval is required leave the Stage set at 1 for a single level of approval. The flow area below will display just the single item across the entire row as seen to the right.
  • Multiple Stages – If more stages or levels are required enter in a number from 2 to 6. The additional stages will be added as additional columns in the flow area as seen to the right.
  • Notes – Any notes for this workflow rule may be entered here.

Now that we have created a rule for a transaction we now have to select to how it is to be applied. We now enter into the Flow area the Users or the Level of users that the rule is to be applied to.

Flow Area

  • New Button – To enter in a new event the following procedure must be followed.
    • Column or Stage Selection – The user must first select select the column and then select the button in the top right-hand corner of the Flow area. SapphireOne will place the word User in the column that was selected.
    • Multiple Stages – Repeat the procedures above for each column or stage in the work flow function. From now on once one of the stages in the line has been selected, it will alter to the orange colour as seen below.
  • Stage Selection – The user must now select each stage in sequence and for every stage set up the following details.
    • Stage – SapphireOne will add a suffix of the stage number to the name Stage. The user may then enter in a column heading name for the stage if required.
    • Type – The user has 2 choices here, Approve or Notify. If approve is selected the user will have to proceed through the approval process before the Work Flow error will be removed for them. If notify is selected the user will only have to open the transaction for viewing.
    • Number – The number entered here indicates the number of users that have to approve this transaction before the WF error is removed from the transaction. Zero means none and 5 means five. Be careful here as the default is usually not wanted so a number will have to be manually entered.

Party Group

For each stage this area sets up the users and what tasks they are to perform for this Work Flow function.

  • Type – This will determine how the workflow rule will be applied.
    • User – When this option is selected a data entry field will be displayed allowing the user to enter in a selected users ID linking the rule to a single selected user. Once a user ID has been selected SapphireOne will display the selected users ID.
    • Level – When this option is selected the Change button will be displayed. When it is selected SapphireOne will display the organisational chart allowing the user to select an organisational level for this rule to be applied to. Once a level has been selected SapphireOne will display the name of the level selected.
    • Creator –  When this option is selected, SapphireOne will allow the creator of the transaction to process the transaction.
  • Authorisation Required checkbox – This checkbox is crucial in relation to the Workflow Rules function. When selected, SapphireOne will enforce the WF error for the selection made in the Link radio buttons. If it is not selected SapphireOne will allow the user to create and save transactions as listed without a WF error as normal. However they will also receive the active message pop up dialog when there are transactions within SapphireOne created by other users that meet the criteria as set up in the Workflow rule.
    • Selected – Restricted saving of the selected transactions with WF error.
    • De-Selected – All transactions saved normally and permission to approve selected transactions.
  • Hierarchical Authorisation Checkbox – If this checkbox is selected, SapphireOne will allow anyone above the level that has been entered for the stage to authorise the transaction. 
  • Notes – Finally enter any notes for this workflow entry. 

SapphireOne’s implementation of both Dictation (MacOS) and Speech to Text (Windows) is a game changer for data entry. Any data entry field you can type into using a keyboard can use this feature.

You can also use this functionality on all inquiry screens within SapphireOne. For example, the user is in a Contact within a Client. They may have made a phone call to that particular client using the Softphone technology. Consequently, this will automatically date and time stamp both the contact and the phone number you called.

As soon as the call is completed, the user has the ability to use Speech to Text (Windows) or Dictation (MacOS). They can dictate into the memo field of the CRM contact, adding as much description as they require.

Dictation and Speech to Text Procedure

This functionality applies across every single Data Entry screen. For example, the SapphireOne user is entering a Vendor Invoice (VI). Additionally, you may want to add a memo within the Vendor Invoice (VI). The user can utilise the tool and simply dictate the memo.

Another example is if the user wants to add additional lines to the General Ledger account, within each General Ledger account. When the user is completing data entry using a General Ledger, there’s always a unique memo field for each GL account line. The user can then utilise this feature to quickly add the information they need to add. Alternatively, you may have an interview with an employee. After the interview process is completed, the user can then make notes about the employee.

Speech to Text or Dictation is an extremely powerful tool. It is something that we at SapphireOne, as well as our clients, utilise daily. It is a massive timesaver. 

Checking for WF Transactions

User Work Flow Alert – For any user that is required to approve any work flow transactions there will be an additional button displayed at the right-hand end of the tool bar as seen in this screen shot .

When the user selects this button SapphireOne will display a pop up dialog indicating how many work flow transactions that require their attention for processing. 

Organisation Levels and Mixed Permissions

Note that the Organisation Levels referred to here are from the Organisation Chart function on the controls drop-down menu. 

When Organisational Levels are used when setting permissions for Workflow Rules, the Levels are not hierarchal in the level above a user will not have automatic authorisation permissions granted. If this was allowed everyone above the working level would be viewing authorisation pop-ups including the General Manager or CFO. 

Authorisation may only be assigned at a particular level by selecting the Authorisation Required checkbox for any user or groups of users in SapphireOne. 

If authorisation permission is to be set at the User Level the users should not have the Rules Level set in their user file on the first page of a user Inquiry the Details Page. Care will also have to be exercised when Organisation levels are used with users at a user by user basis. 

Probably be the most common error when setting up this function is the setting up of a conflict. For example, authorisation has been granted for Sales Managers and Authorisation Required for the user SapphireOne Sydney who is also in the Sales Managers group. That is a direct conflict must be avoided at all costs as the user has been included as part of the Sales managers level. 

Do not mix permissions. Make certain that a specific user who may not authorise transactions does not also form part of any organisational level that may authorise transactions. 

Workflow In Operation (Restrictions)

A user creates a transaction and saves it. SapphireOne determines that a workflow rule is to be enforced as it has determined that for the type of transaction there is a rule that is broken and the check box has been selected. SapphireOne will then proceed to save the transaction with a status of err for error. The error code will be WF for Workflow and this means that a user with the appropriate authorisation rule in place has to approve it which will remove the error code enabling further processing of the transaction as documented on the previous page. 

From SapphireOne setup we have two types of users who will require authorisation or be able to authorise transactions. 

  1. User who starts the Transaction. The users ID will be recorded by SapphireOne and they will be the only user to receive the Active Message pop up for the transactions that they actually create. Until a user actually creates a transaction they will not receive any Active Message authorisation pop ups. OR Specific Users for example, SONE0 SapphireOne Syd. I.e. a new staff member and the management wants to check certain transactions before they are processed. Again, they will be the only users to receive the Active Message pop up only for the transactions that they actually create. 
  2. User Level. This is different as this will be a group of users who have the same Rules Level set in the first page of their User Access Inquiry. Once a transaction has been created by a single member of the Rules Level Group all of the users in the same group would receive the Active message pop up. For example, if there is more than one user with a Level of Sale Manager set in their user file they would all be presented with the Active message pop up. 

Workflow In operation (Approvals)

The rules for approvals is the same as for restrictions above only in reverse. For example, some planning will be required for the rules. If the organisational chart levels are used throughout and you have 100 sales staff and 1 sales manager set to authorise transactions the Active Message pop up above will be displayed to 101 users and this may not be what is wanted. 

Setting up Rules

The Authorisation Required check box must only be selected for any user who is permitted to authorise transactions. 

There are three options when selecting a user or users when setting rules for authorisation and these are detailed below. 

  1. On a user by user basis so that the actual user ID will have to be entered and this could be used in two ways. For a specific user who is to authorise transactions, or to a single user that management has selected to check on all transactions created by that user before they are processed further. (New Staff).
  2. On an Organisational Level basis. This could be used when a group of users is to be selected from the organisational chart. For example, Sales Staff could be set up so that all transactions that they create would require authorisation. It should be noted that a problem could arise in that this would mean that not only will all Sales Staff not be permitted to authorise transactions, that they would then all be presented with the Active Message on the previous page for each and every transaction created by each and every user in the Sales Staff grouping and this could become annoying. 
  3. Probably the best option for setting Authorisation Rules is to use the User who start transaction option. While this could be set either way by the selection of the Authorise Required checkbox the normal procedure would be to not select the Authorise Required checkbox. SapphireOne would then require that all transactions created in SapphireOne be authorised, but the only users being presented with the Active Message pop up would be the user who created the transaction and any user that has the Authorisation Required check box selected. 

Two events per Rule

As seen below for each and every rule set up there must be at least two events setup. One that requires authorisation and one that does not require authorisation as seen below. It is all very well to have a WF error on a transaction, but there must be at least one staff member who can approve any WF transactions that are created. 


From the Organisation Chart referred to above we will discuss three scenarios. 

  1. Sales Staff – Setup users performing sales or purchases in the AccPayableStaff level.
    • The Authorisation Required checkbox is selected.
  2. Sales Managers- Set up one or more users as Sales Managers in the AccPayableMan level.
    • The Authorisation Required checkbox would not be selected.
  3.  End result – All Sales staff will create transactions with an WF error requiring the Sales Manager to approve them all. The Active Message alert will be displayed to all 100 staff members plus the Sales Manager.
  1. User Who creates the Transaction- For the user who creates the transaction.
    • The Authorisation Required checkbox is selected.
  2. Sales Managers- As above set up one or more users as Sales Managers in the AccPayableMan level.
    • The Authorisation Required checkbox would not be selected.
  3. End Result – All Sales staff will create transactions with an WF error requiring the Sales Manager to approve them all. The Active Message alert will be displayed to the user who created the transaction and the Sales Manager. Even if another user modifies the transaction the only user who receives notification messages will be the user who created the transaction and the Sales manager.
  1. User – If necessary for any transaction created, a specifically selected user may be set up to receive notifications regarding all transactions with workflow errors. This Sales Staff user must not have a Level of Sales Staff set in their user file or else a conflict will arise.
    • Select User from the Change button options.
    • The Authorisation Required checkbox is selected.
  2. Sales Managers- Set up one or more users as Sales Managers in the AccPayableMan level.
    • The Authorisation Required checkbox would not be selected.
  3. End Result – Only the Accounts manager and the entered user would receive any alerts for Workflow.

Try and make certain that only 1 user has authorisation privileges granted and does not belong to any other group or organisational level.  If 2 specific users or levels have authorisation privileges All of them will have to authorise transactions before the WF error code is released unless they are part of an organisational level. 

You can review our Blog and YouTube channel for additional information and resources on SapphireOne ERP, CRM and Business Accounting software.

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